Can someone talk to me about CrossCode? I played the tutorial and ran around for a while on the ship. Of course, that's only about an hour, but the writing wasn't quite landing for me. Is the draw of the game mechanical depth or is it more focused on unfolding a narrative?
@the_nubster: Both. The combat is really fun with a great amount of depth for a 2D Zelda-like both in that there's a meaningful skill tree to customise how you want to approach combat and there's just hard mechanics to get better at in combat if you want to like learning enemy patterns and perfect guarding. The puzzle solving continues to ramp up in complexity right up to the end in an extremely well designed curve.
One of the biggest 'Wow!' factors for me was how well designed the environments are; your freedom of movement is much greater than you might expect from the 2D top-down perspective and the environments all use verticality in brilliant ways, with meaningful secrets to encourage exploration.
Alongside that there is absolutely a narrative that unfolds as you venture through the lands. It's probably not going to knock anyone's socks off but it's extremely well paced and it goes to genuinely interesting places, totally kept me captivated right to the end.
More than that, there's terrific character development and interactions between everyone throughout - personally I think Lea is one of the most well realised silent protagonists ever and manages to show a ton of personality. The world building is also just top notch, evoking the feel of an MMO really well and continually peppering in details about the world both real and virtual that are really well done.